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Trump’s convictions no problem in Gulf, says Saudi partner

Donald Trump Gulf Yasir al-Rumayyan Julia Mineeva/EGBN TV News/Alamy Live News
Donald Trump and Saudi financier Yasir al-Rumayyan at the Saudi-financed 2022 LIV Invitational Golf Tournament, held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey
  • Dar Global works with Trump Organisation
  • Trump guilty of 34 charges
  • Relationship ‘is commercial’

Donald Trump’s felony convictions in New York last week are not a deterrent to his potential business interests in the Gulf, a leading Saudi developer has said.

Trump became the first former US president to be convicted of felony crimes on May 30 when a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 charges of falsifying business records.

Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global, the London-listed international arm of the Saudi Arabian property developer Dar Al Arkan, told AGBI on Tuesday that his company was open to work on more projects with the Trump Organisation.

Dar Global partnered with the Trump Organisation in 2022 to use the former president’s name for its $4 billion master development in Muscat.

The Aida project, a joint venture with Oman Tourism Development Company, will include Trump-branded villas, a resort and a golf course.

“Our relationship has always been with the Trump Organisation on commercial business,” El Chaar said.

“I was in the US last week and the 18 golf clubs of Trump in the US and the three between the UK and Ireland are among the best performing such businesses in the world.

“This is what we’re after: the golf clubs, the hotels, the association with Trump for that brand. We’re not associated with politics.”

Dar Global has collaborations with a number of luxury brands including Dolce and Gabbana, Pagani, Lamborghini and Elie Saab.

On Tuesday it announced a new AED900 million ($245 million) Aston Martin-branded residential development on Al Marjan islands in Ras Al Khaimah, near the highly anticipated Wynn Resort and Casino.

The project, due to be completed in December 2028, will feature interiors by the famous British carmaker.

Demand has been high for Gulf real estate branded after the 45th US president. In February there were more than 100 expressions of interest in the launch of 20 Trump-branded villas in Oman within 24 hours.

The Trump Organisation operates the Middle East’s only Trump-branded golf course, the Trump International Golf Club Dubai. It is part of the Trump Estates at Damac Hills, an exclusive residential development in partnership with the private Dubai developer Damac Properties.

Its operations and technology managing director Ali Sajwani said last year that demand for the properties in Dubai lay in their quality.

Close scrutiny

The Trump brand topped the global league table of branded residences back in 2000, a report by Savills said. It fell to third in 2015, but was still ranked fourth in the world at the midway point in 2020.

Trump’s Middle East ties have come under close scrutiny even though he ceded control of his business to his sons when he became president.

Although he refrained from pursuing new international real estate deals while in office, ethics experts have questioned his links with Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, during his presidency.

Trump has pledged to appeal against his guilty verdicts and is seeking intervention by the US Supreme Court.

He looks likely to be named as the Republican Party’s nomination for the US presidential election in November.

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